Cultivating Care for the Creek: 2016 Capstone
Junior Year we sat in Zehler. Out of the sticky sun, at the table, we brainstormed. We tossed ideas like we toss rubber ducks on the river. As family now, we argued. We procrastinated. We watched youtube videos and ate GFS pb&j’s. We covered white boards with possibilities. Reached few conclusions. Then realized why we’re together, what we care about, what we want out of our project: environmental education. With that shared interest, we ran.
We partnered with Edison Elementary School. Twin Creek runs parallel to the school. We identified the water source as an asset to both the school and the neighborhood. We hoped to instill in the students a connection, ownership, and responsibility for the creek.
Through conversation with the NSC coordinator and the teachers, we learned that, firstly, the students needed extra academic support. We started after-school math and science tutoring, fostering relationships with both students and teachers. We developed lesson plans for environmental curriculum. We built these lesson plans into a three hour program, Creek Day.
Friday, March 4th, Creek Day commenced. Six stations, two 7th grade classes, eighteen blue shirts.
Dan headed the watershed station. Shout out to MCD for letting us borrow the watershed model.
Matt shared his nature knowledge. He taught about trees with crafty books for the students to record what they learned. How neat is that? “You can tell that it’s an aspen tree because the way that it is.”
Tin cans became instruments at Eric’s station. The teams brainstormed about how to reuse materials. One way? Music.
Students relayed for recycling at Danielle’s station. She refereed as they raced down the hall to sort plastics, papers, and cans into their appropriate bins.
The edible aquifers at Maggie’s station provided the sugar rush. Red Kool-Aid represented pollution. The students observed how quickly the Kool-Aid affected the taste and color of their aquifer.
Léa led students through art reflection. They painted aquifers, rivers, and trees onto flowerpots. They wrote words of Dayton pride, peace, and love. Then they dirtied their mittens planting seeds they’ll take home to watch grow into flowers. Personalized reminders of their one-on-one connection with the earth.
Our collaboration with Edison gave us the opportunity to share our expertise and passion with a new generation of stewards. We were excited and impressed by the students’ genuine interest, energetic participation, and mad talent. We are hugely grateful for the enthusiasm and support of the teachers. Creek Day wouldn’t have been possible without their partnership.
Now we’re dusting off our hands. We’re reflecting on our past three years. We’re hoping our project cultivated a communal care for the creek, for Dayton, and for the environment we all share.
Since when are we seniors?
The river gives, y’all.